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Entries in SAG (45)

Monday
Jan302012

"Dream Big, Dream Fierce" This Oscar Season

The SAG Awards are receding in the review mirror, but the afterglow remains. How much power can emotional narratives have within our seasonal awards journey? Viola Davis has been a major actress for a long time within the showbiz community -- this very website first handed her two gold medals way back in early 2003 for her gobsmackingly great single scene in Antwone Fisher and her breakthrough year of smart character work in Far From Heaven and Solaris -- but it's only in the past few years that the mainstream has begun to learn her name and key in to her potent gift.  There's nothing like a 'who's that?' Oscar nomination (Doubt), A List friendship (Streep) and a big fat juicy hit (The Help) to boost your profile.

So I wasn't surprised but was definitely delighted to see her receive a standing ovation when she walked up to accept Best Actress for The Help.


Perhaps the standing ovation is an annual occurence and I've merely forgotten.

In some ways our relationship with the awards circus is a long one with deep pockets of memories, held grudges and fond crushes. In other ways it's as if we're goldfish swimming round the bowl and we're surprised by that little plastic castle every time.

But I think the true indicator that Viola Davis is the likely winner of the Best Actress Oscar is not the win itself with SAG, which has a much wider more diverse voting body than Oscar, but the crowd response. Reducing co-stars to tears is probably no great achievement. They were in the trenches with you so naturally Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and Cicely Tyson were crying their eyes out. But making Zoe Saldana and Angelina Jolie all misty? Boosting Dick Van Dyke's mood when he was already high on life? 

What is going on here? (More after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan302012

Say What Shai'? 

Last night when The SAG Award for Ensemble cast was announced ("And the actor goes to... The Help")  Shailene Woodley turned to a shrugging George Clooney and held up two fingers. 


What was that conversation?
 
Amuse us by transcribing it in the comments.

 

Sunday
Jan292012

SAG Live Blog: Bridesmaids, Silent Stars and The Help

6:30 I was writing an (unrelated) short little note about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy moments ago and am suddenly thrust onto a red carpet with fast talking E! reporters uttering inanities while stars explain who they're wearing. These are things old spies never have to think about. But tonight is not about the spies. It's about bridesmaids, silent film stars, time travelling writers, Hawaiian land barons and maids. The first four things I hear are two engagement stories (good news for Bridesmaids or mere coincidence?), one ode to George Clooney via The Good Wife herself. Then Octavia Spencer --  love that bun (is there are name for those high buns on steroids?) -- announcing that she's robbed Cougar Town of Josh.

Which begs the question: Is anyone in Hollywood not friends with Octavia Spencer?

6:37 Armie Hammer on his wife's bakery. He's not the baker, he's the, uh, taster. The reporter or his wife I can't recall calls this "out of the closet taster?" which he confirms. I'm not making this up. 

I'm an out of the closet taster and Elizabeth is the master baker: lemon pies, tiramisu, many cupcakes. Let's just say we now have the most special red velvet recipe there is. 

For some reason when he's talking about food it sounds utterly filthy. I'm having a flashback to Rock Hudson talking about recipes in that one movie. 

6:40 Rose Byrne is wearing a sparkly jumpsuit and reminding me that she is Australian. I always forget the she's Australian and that jumpsuits exist. The latter by choice.  Although she says Scarface was her inspiration and I can sort of see Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1983 in this look. The BEST part is when she leaves the reporter who is going to commercial and Glenn Close (Damages reunion!) looks her jumpsuit up and down... more than once. She doesn't know what to make of it until...

No, she definitely doesn't like it. Hee.

6:53 Viola Davis is talking about her new daughter. I didn't realize she had adopted. Somewhere I missed that. She sounds happy and nervous and she definitely isn't completely comfortable in her Jimmy Choos. Since we're talking about feet, I feel the need to share this photo.

Regina King tweeted "toes done" an hour ago.

I did not retouch this photo so either her camera phone has some issues or her feet are sunburned. Ouch. Put some aloe vera on that. If feet horrify you I apologize. But, true story, it's how I remembered it was time to live blog.

This live blog is brought to you Regina King's pedicure.

7:02 Jonah Hill says everyone can't believe he was Oscar nominated. To his credit he says that he can't believe it either so he understands.

7:08 Michelle Williams, who clearly does not like talking to reporters about her personal life, does a pretty good job of pretending to be okay with it whilst astrally projecting herself away. I'm reasonably certain she was floating somewhere over Montana whilst Guiliana was inundating her with questions about child rearing.

much more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan112012

Now Presenting... The Presenters!

If the starry nominee troupes marching towards you later this week and beyond are not shiny enough for you, fear not. Even more celebs will be on hand as well wishers and presenters. Here's what we know so far followed by our annual Oscar badgering. They really need help when thinking about "presenting" honors.

BFCA "Critics Choice" This is happening in just two days. Will you be here as we live blog?  Presenters include: Leonardo DiCaprio, Vin Diesel, Kirsten Dunst, Donald Glover, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Kingsley, Diane Kruger, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Olsen, Patton Oswalt, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Jason Segel and Owen Wilson. 

GLOBES Michelle Pfeiffer & Nicole Kidman (!!!!!!!!! I don't mean to imply together... though wouldn't that be something?), Melissa McCarthy, Jake Gyllenhaal, Clive Owen & Natalie Portman (I don't mean to imply together... though wouldn't that be something?), Antonio Banderas & Salma Hayek (I assume together) and Mark Wahlberg. 

SAG Ed Helms, Julianna Margulies, Natalie Portman, Armie Hammer, and Southland's wonderful headliner Regina King who, as it turns out is also something called "SAG Awardsocial network ambassador". Fancy!

OSCARS Nothing has been announced yet but we assume that Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo will be on hand to present the acting awards... unless they screw with the format again.

And once again we would like to remind the Oscar producers that no one wants to see the same people presenting Best Picture every year. Step away from the Spielbergs, Nicholsons, Streisands and Hanks. We PROMISE you they are not the only celebrities everyone recognizes.

Instantly Recognizable Faces / Audience Beloveds Who've Never Had "Best Picture" Honor

  • Meryl Streep
  • Jane Fonda
  • Julia Roberts
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Johnny Depp
  • Tom Cruise
  • Will Smith
  • My three favorite Perfect Duo Suggestions for this particular year. None of them have had the honor...
  • KATE & LEO  (Consider it. 2012 is the TITANIC centennial. Be a little more creative on Oscar night. Please do not sleepwalk and pull from your standard pool of 5 people.) 
  • JODIE & ANTHONY (20th anniversary of Silence of the Lambs big winning ceremony)

    Just a couple of Dames 
  • DAME MAGGIE SMITH  & DAME JUDI DENCH
    My #1 suggestion. Hear me out. They're friends. They're Oscar titans. They're both getting on in years. Plus, it'd be a sly nod to Harry Potter as it ends and James Bond as it hits its 50th anniversary. You're always worried about being "relevant" to younger audiences. How about covering all your bases at once with senior citizens who are Academy staples but who are also instantly recognizable and beloved by all generations given their key roles in long running über successful franchises that are having major moments right about now. All that plus the Dames have a new film together in 2012 (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel). It's the best of all possible worlds. Plus it's a honor for actresses and you have to admit that you're very actress-phobic when it comes to Best Picture presentations and Honorary Oscars.

    Repent of this great sin and let an actress (or two) have the honor this year. 

 

Monday
Jan022012

SAG Ensemble Flashback: "The Birdcage!" & Oscar Trivia

With the Screen Actors Guild Awards less than a month away, let's look back at the history of our favorite SAG Category, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast" i.e. Best Ensemble. Though the Guild had long been in the business of lifetime achievement awards, they didn't hold their first full fledged awards ceremony until 1995 for the 1994 film year. That first SAG year did not include an Ensemble movie prize which is strange since they handed out TV ensemble prizes from the start so it's not like they hadn't dreamt up that honor! The next year Apollo 13, which was something of a frontrunner for Oscar's Best Picture prize (it eventually lost), won the inaugural ensemble prize. It beat a field that included only one other Oscar Best Picture nominee (Sense & Sensibility)... a percentage ratio you rarely see today.

At the third annual ceremony the award went to the (thankfully) dated gay marriage comedy The Birdcage (1996), based on the 1978 French classic and three-time Oscar nominee La Cage Aux Folles. The films farcical comedy emerges when a gay couple (Robin Williams & Nathan Lane) try to fool a conservative couple (Gene Hackman & Dianne Wiest) into thinking of them as a "reputable" traditional family so that the son can marry the other couple's daughter (Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart). Everything goes wrong over dinner as the gay couple has a terrible time keeping up the facade.

This is so Guatemala. They put hardboiled things in everything down there. Because, you know, chicken is so important to them. it's their only real currency. A woman is said to be worth her weight in hens and a man's wealth is measured by the size of his cock."

Will you excuse me?"

MORE

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec142011

BEST ENSEMBLE... Except You Corey Stoll in "Midnight in Paris"!

It's become something of a tradition here at The Film Experience to take issue with the Screen Actors Guild and their problematic "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture" prize. Year after year they don't even seek to address an issue that you'd think would matter to the 90,000+ guild members: the preferencing of "names" over character actors, no matter the size or importance of the role. As you may know acting is one of those fields were you're lucky to just be working and those who make millions are few and far between. Yet the guild, which should be protecting their less-famous members often lets them be crushed by fame and its perks (aka getting your own title card or high billing). If you don't have your own title card you usually don't end up in the "ensemble" list. Our interest in this situation was first stirred by The Aviator (2004) when we were horrified to realize that the very famous Gwen Stefani was included as a nominee for essentially walking and sitting onscreen in Jean Harlow drag while Matt Ross, who was excellent in MANY scenes as Howard Hughes's right hand man was excluded. 

So who is nominated and who is excluded this year? Let's take a looksee.

THE ARTIST
nominees: Bérénice Bejo, James Cromwell, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, and Penelope Ann Miller
who is excluded? Missy Pyle who has a fun cameo and Beth Grant who appears in the movie briefly in its final act ...and Uggie the dog who some people think is best in show. 

BRIDESMAIDS
nominees: Rose Byrne, Jill Clayburgh, Ellie Kemper, Matt Lucas, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.
who is excluded? This is fairly representative of the film though Ben Falcone, Air Marshall Jon (and Mr Melissa McCarthy in real life), is excluded. Also missing though understandably given that he went "uncredited" is Jon Hamm.

THE DESCENDANTS
nominees: Beau Bridges, George Clooney, Robert Forster, Judy Greer (Interviewed), Matthew Lillard, and Shailene Woodley.
who is excluded? Nick Krause as "Sid" who has been given quite a lot of attention in the movie's trailer and appears in several scenes. An even more important character, the youngest King daughter played by Amara Miller is also absent. We'll forgive them for omitting Patricia Hastie as Elizabeth King. (Not that it's not difficult to appear comatose for scene upon scene upon scene; I could never sit still that long, I don't know about you.)

THE HELP
nominees: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O'Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Stone, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel.
who is excluded? With the largest amount of nominees, they do fairly well at covering the movie but there is one key player missing: Aunjane Ellis who plays "Yule Mae" and gets a few really good scenes involving her struggle to send her boy to college. Other exclusions: Tony winner LaChanze who plays "Rachel" in one of the most heartbreaking scenes as her mother is fired from a lifelong job, and the diminutive Leslie Jordan who bosses Emma Stone around frequently at work between meatier scenes is also absent.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
nominees: Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Owen Wilson (who are all listed alphabetically, as is Woody's generous ensemble-friendly way, on the first title card)
who is excluded? Where to even begin? Each year one of the nominees takes the cake for the year's most bizarre exclusions and this is inarguably that film for 2011.

The nomination does not include the three co-stars who were, arguably, the most fun to watch. Corey Stoll who won the lion's share of "stole the show!" plaudits for his breakthrough work as Ernest Hemingway is missing. Perhaps even more baffling, given their higher degree of fame before this film, is the exclusion of Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston as the Fitzgeralds. I spoke to Corey Stoll this morning (read the interview) and since I was particularly aggravated by his absence from the list, I asked him how he was feeling about it:

That's a nomination for us whether we go there or not. We are undeniably a part of the ensemble and we brought a lot to the table. But it's strange that it's SAG that does that. I could understand something that's more critic or producer-centric but acting? From my union, I think it's a little strange. 

We wholeheartedly agree!

Other key cast members of Midnight in Paris who appear with "Hemingway" & "the Fitzgeralds" on the second title card and were thus excluded from the honor were: Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller (the future in-laws), Léa Seydoux (the vintage shop worker) and Nina Arianda (Michael Sheen's fiancé).

SOLUTION / SUGGESTION
Wouldn't SAG do better by its own union members if productions were expected to choose the nominees themselves (up to a certain number of people), the way Oscar nominated films must choose who gets the credit fo such efforst as producing and visual effects and what not?